Silver on the Road Review

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne GilmanSilver on the Road
Book 1 of The Devil’s West
by Laura Anne Gilman (2015)

On her sixteenth birthday, Isobel chooses to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. He’s a being with immense but limited power, who deals fairly with people looking for a deal, and who makes sure they get what they deserve. His wild west needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in.

Trained to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy sets out to learn the ways of the territory. She will find herself, and what it means to be the devil’s hand, on the endless road.

Pin for laterAdd to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Book Review

Silver on the Road delivers an original fantasy in the endless plains and arid foothills of the Old West. If you like a western setting, you’ll love. Landscapes are perfectly rendered and beautifully described. The grammar and prose is just rural enough to feel natural, without ever leaving you to decipher chicken scratch dialogue. You’ll get a feel for life on the road, from the sway in the saddle to the daily rituals of camp and campfire.

Book Quote: Silver on the Road, Laura Anne GilmanBut it’s not just the stunning setting that makes Silver on the Road a worthy read. Izzy, the devil’s hand, and Gabriel, an experienced rider who shows her the ropes, are nuanced characters to travel with. Their friendship evolves slowly, through shared silences and long miles. It’s a joy to see characters brought to life without the need for much dialogue, as they learn to read each other’s actions through experience.

The fantasy element is subtle, almost magical realism. It’s embedded in the land, in the traditions of unclaimed territory and the road that leads across it. For much of the story, it’s possible to not take much notice of the magical forces that shape events. But as Izzy and Gabriel track down a strange darkness come to the territory, they face forces more comfortably in the realm of heroic fantasy. It’s a slow-paced read, but richly rewarding for its realistic characters and rich settings.

Recommended for:
* Old West historical setting
* Vivid descriptions and subtle magic
* Believable characters that bond through shared experiences

If you like Silver on the Road, check out these book recommendations!

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Ten Tales of Old West Fantasy

Ten Tales of Old West Fantasy

I’ve spent most of my life west of the Mississippi, where ghost towns and ramshackle homesteads dot the landscape. It’s the history that lingers on in the land I know best. The Old West is a favorite setting of mine, especially when mixed with my favorite genres. Whether it’s weird western horror, steampunk adventure, western-influenced dystopia or historical fantasy, you’ll find something to hunker down with here.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae CarsonWalk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson (2015)
Genre: historical fantasy, young adult
Series: Gold Seer Trilogy
When & Where: Gold Rush era, California
The story: Lee has the power to sense gold in the world around her, and people will do anything to control her. In California, where gold abounds, she can be herself for the first time.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph BruchacKiller of Enemies, Joseph Bruchac
Genre: dystopian, fantasy, steampunk, cross-genre, young adult
Series: Killer of Enemies (2013)
When & Where: post-apocalyptic, American Southwest
The story: When tech stopped working, the monsters got loose, and Lozen started hunting. Her powers are tied to an Apache legend. As her ancestors foretold, Lozen is destined to be a hero.

Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. BelcherSix-Gun Tarot, R.S. Belcher (2013)
Genre: steampunk, weird western, horror, historical fantasy
Series: Golgotha
When & Where: 1869, Nevada
The story: Golgotha, Nevada is a town of secrets, with monsters lurking in the shadows. But the abandoned mine hides a new threat. If it can’t be stopped, the darkness emanating from its depths will swallow everything.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne GilmanSilver on the Road, Laura Anne Gilman (2015)
Genre: heroic fantasy, western, historical fiction
Series: The Devil’s West
When & Where: Old West era, Western Territories
The story: The Devil controls the Territories, making deals with mortals but always trading fairly. At 16, Isobel signs on to become the Devil’s left hand, unseen in the shadows.

Blood Red Road by Moira YoungBlood Red Road, Moira Young
Genre: dystopian, young adult
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy (complete)
When & Where: post-apocalyptic wasteland
The story: A girl sets out across the wasteland in search of her kidnapped twin brother. Along the way, she meets up with a girl gang of revolutionaries and the daredevil Jack. And finds the strength to take on a corrupt society from the inside. Perfect for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Flash Gold by Lindsay BurokerFlash Gold, Lindsay Buroker (2011)
Genre: steampunk
Series: Flash Gold Chronicles
When & Where: Gold Rush era, Yukon territories
The story: Kali enters her steam-powered “dogless sled” in a race, whose prize money will let her escape forever. But fortune seekers and airship pirates want the secret of her father’s alchemy, flash gold.

The Gunslinger by Stephen KingThe Gunslinger, Stephen King (1982)
Genre: horror, Western, fantasy, post-apocalyptic
Series: The Dark Tower (complete, 7 books)
When & Where: Western style fantasy world
The story: Roland Deschain is the Last Gunslinger, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world. Leaving death in his wake, he pursues the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life.

Karen Memory by Elizabeth BearKaren Memory, Elizabeth Bear
Genre: steampunk, alternate history
Series: Standalone
When & Where: late 1800s, Seattle
The story: Karen guards the girls at a high class bordello. An injured girl arrives at their door, followed by a man with a mind-control machine. When a body turns up in the trash, it’ll take a lot for the ladies to stay safe.

Alloy of Law by Brandon SandersonAlloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson
Genre: epic fantasy, steampunk, magic
Series: Mistborn #4; #1 of followup series
When & Where: fantasy world
The story: 300 years after the Mistborn trilogy, the land is on the cusp of modernity. But Waxillium may not be able to put away his guns just yet. Alloy of Law works as the beginning of its own series, so don’t be afraid to give it a try whether you’ve read Mistborn or not.

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood SmithStranger, Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
Genre: post-apocalyptic, western, adventure, young adult
Series: The Change
When & Where: future Los Angeles
The story: The area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, but its technological marvels have faded to legend. A teen prospector arrives with a bounty hunter on his trail and a precious artifact in his pack. Life in the frontier town of Las Anclas will never be the same. My review

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is historical settings.

Girl with Ghost Eyes Review

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. BoronsonThe Girl with Ghost Eyes
by M.H. Boroson (November 2015)

It’s the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and Daoshi ghost hunters keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique ability to see the spirit world.

When a sorcerer threatens Chinatown, only Li-lin can stop his plans. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

Pin for laterAdd to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Book Review

The Girl with Ghost Eyes boasts Chinese magic and spirits from Asian mythology, and a turn of the century Chinatown full of complex, nuanced characters. With a spirit world layered just over ours and mythical creatures that spill over to threaten reality, it’s got the hallmarks of urban fantasy. But well-researched folklore and the intricate customs and structure of San Francisco’s immigrant community at the century’s end make this debut fantasy feel like nothing you’ve read before.

If you’re looking for rich, folklore-based fantasy in a vivid moment of history, The Girl with Ghost Eyes will satisfy. The vibrant life of Chinatown’s immigrant community is revealed with an action-packed punch.

Recommended for:
* Fantasy in a rich historical setting
* Spirits and magic from Chinese folklore traditions
* Cultural immersion with vivid characters and lyrical language

If you like The Girl with Ghost Eyes, check out these book recommendations!

LGBTQ Charity Giveaway + Daughter of Mystery – Review

LGBTQ Push Back Charity Giveaway

Today I want to share about a current charity and reading opportunity. Instead of spending $5 on a book this week, donate $5 to an LGBTQ charity of your choice, comment at the giveaway page and be entered in a drawing to win a book from a participating donor. The LGBTQ Push Back Charity Giveaway runs through May 1.

I support equality. I read LGBTQ books. I want diversity in books, of all varieties, and I put my time and money behind what I believe.

And now, a review of a recent LGBTQ read:

Daughter of Mystery – Review

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones Daughter of Mystery delivers:
* female friendship and a slow burn romance
* a rich, historically-inspired fantasy setting
* political intrigue and religious mysteries

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (2014)     Add to Goodreads or see more reviews
Margerit Sovitre did not expect to inherit the Baron’s fortunes, and even less, his bodyguard. The formidable Barbara is a feared duelist, capable of defending her charges with efficient, deadly force.

Equally perplexing is that she inherited his wealth, Margerit did not inherit the Saveze title, and the new baron eyes the fortunes he lost with open envy. Barbara may be the only force that stands between Margerit and the new Baron’s greed — and the ever deeper layers of intrigue that surround the ill-health of Alpennia’s prince and the divine power from rituals known only as The Mysteries of the Saints.

Margerit protests the need for Barbara’s services, but soon she cannot imagine sending Barbara away — for reasons of state and reasons of the heart.4 Stars - Recommended
My result: Recommended

Read the full review!

A Bride's Story

Ten Books for Readers of Greek and Roman Mythology

Ten Books for Readers who like Greek and Roman Mythology
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

I adore Greek and Roman history and mythology in every form. This week, I’m sharing ten books (or series) inspired by the ancient world. The list includes traditional historical fiction, modern interpretations, and science fiction or fantasy tales inspired by classical themes. Enjoy!

If you like classical mythology and history:

Gates of Fire by Stephen PressfieldGates of Fire, Stephen Pressfield (2005)
Time & Place: 480 BC, eastern Greece
Historical References: Battle of Thermopolae
Appeal: Military fiction, Historical, fans of 300
The Spartans stand against overwhelming odds as the Persians invade.

The IX by Andrew P WestonThe IX, Andrew P Weston (2015)
Time & Place: Futuristic
Historical References: Disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion
Appeal: Science Fiction, Military, Historical, Westerns
Warriors of various eras fight an impossible enemy on a faraway planet. Soldiers include a Roman Centurion and a Civil War Calvary lieutenant.

I, Claudius by Robert GravesI, Claudius, Robert Graves (1934)
Time & Place: 1st century AD, Roman Empire
Historical References: reign of Tiberius Claudius
Appeal: Historical, Court Intrigue, Dysfunctional Families, Grimdark, fans of Game of Thrones
Historically set, but if you love Tyrion Lannister, you’ll love Claudius.

Ilium by Dan SimmonsIlium (#1), Dan Simmons (2005)
Time & Place: 21st century, planet Mars
Historical References: Trojan War
Appeal: Science fiction, Space opera, Military
The Trojan War continues on Mars, under the watchful eye of Zeus and the Olympians.

Killer of Men by Christian CameronKiller of Men (Long War #1), Christian Cameron (2010)
Time & Place: 5th century BC, Greece
Historical References: Persian War
Appeal: Historical, Military, Epic
An aging hero recounts his rise from slave to renowned soldier.

Starcrossed by Josephine AngeliniStarcrossed (#1), Josephine Angelini (2011)
Time & Place: Modern day, Nantucket
Historical References: Helen of Troy, reincarnated
Appeal: YA fantasy, paranormal romance, reincarnation, god powers
When she meets Lucas, Helen doesn’t know she’s caught in a tragic loop by the Fates.

Medusa: A Love Story by Sasha SummersMedusa (Loves of Olympus #1), Sasha Summers (2012)
Time & Place: Ancient Times
Appeal: Greek tragedy, Romance, Mythology Retellings
Each Loves of Olympus story tells a different tale from Greek mythology, mixing romance and tragedy.

Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising (#1), Pierce Brown (2014)
Time & Place: Futuristic, planet Mars
Historical References: Interplanetary empire modeled on Ancient Rome
Appeal: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Military, fans of Hunger Games
SciFi dystopian that begins with an intense emotional core and widens to epic scale as the series progresses. (Read my Goodreads review.)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (2012)
Time & Place: Ancient Greece
Historical References: Trojan War, the Iliad
Appeal: Historical, Military, Romance, LGBT
The tale of the Greek hero Achilles, told by his lifelong friend and companion, Patroclus. (Read my Goodreads review.)

Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn KenyonDark Hunters series, Sherrilyn Kenyon (2002-present)
Time & Place: Modern day, with flashbacks and memories to ancient Times
Appeal: Paranormal romance, Urban fantasy, Vampires
Ancient mythologies shamelessly twisted to fit paranormal romance tropes. Formulaic romance, but entertaining and fun.

Upcoming Books with Greek or Roman themes

Upcoming Titles

  • An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir (April 28)
    YA fantasy inspired by the Roman Empire, featuring a slave revolution at the martial academy. (Read my review)

  • Court of Fives (#1), Kate Elliott (August 18)
    YA fantasy inspired by Cleopatra and Ptolemaic Egypt, with its twin legacies of Macedonian Greece and Egypt.

  • Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1), Eleanor Herman (August 25)
    Fantasy elements weave through historical details in this tale of Alexander the Great.